Enough Points and You Win, Right?

I have a hard time remembering when I wasn’t self conscious about my weight. Even during my brief stint at being thin, I was worried about it. Be it genetics or behavior or a combination, I have never really had an easy time with it. When I hit 30, I wanted to attack it hard, but I also lack will power, so while I did get it a little under control, I have been up and down a lot, currently up.

It was one of the main reasons that I tried the whole running thing. The internet is littered with blogs about people that were once overweight, sometimes well over what I have ever been, monitoring what goes into their face and taking up running. A lot of them, or at least the ones that seem to rise in popularity, are success stories. Then again, the whole fat-to-fit story from someone a lot like the currently not-fit person sitting behind a keyboard would make them popular. Everyone likes a Cinderella type story that is full of struggles, set-backs, and an eventual happy ending. They are inspiring and the work that those people do is incredible and inspirational.

I already talked about how well the running thing was going for me, now on to the eating thing. I like food. No, that isn’t entirely true. I love food. All food, both the healthy type and the sugary, greasy, cheesy food. Other than a few key ingredients, like mushrooms, I am not a picky eater.

One of the key things I have noticed that people who have success have done, other than the increase in activity, is some sort of food logging. This could be in the form of a hard copy food diary, an online food diary, or Weight Watchers points.

I started out trying to figure out how much of what I should be eating. This was tricky in itself because depending on what source and study you look at, you get totally different information. I tried coming up with something and tracking it in a notebook, but that was short lived. I eventually found myfitnesspal.com, or MFP, where you have access to a very complete database of foods and their nutritional breakdowns for free. I know there are other ones, too, such as spark people and a livestrong one, but this was the one I went with. It was easy and initially I had a lot of success. It was how I initially took off about 20 pounds. Unfortunately, the novelty wore off and I put about 10 back on. Like running, it was one of those things where consistency is key. I am nothing if not inconsistent. I have other friends that have used MFP and have had great success, and their community boards are full of success stories. Unfortunately, I did not stick to it.

Then, one day at work, I saw that they were going to start a Weight Watchers at work. I figured that was something I could try. I had done WW twice before and had successes, but had quite twice – once because I moved and the second time because I went on to shift work. I know that I have better success when I go to meetings and am not just using the eTools, so the fact that the meetings were at work, a place that I spend a large amount of time, made it seem simple. I also found that three people I knew were willing to join as well, three people that I talk to regularly and live near. I am hoping that they help with the motivation thing.

The program is easy and, although I cannot calculate points in my head and they are not labeled on every possible thing I might eat, I find that counting points is easier. I am not sure if it is because the number is lower than caloric amounts or if maybe the not knowing exactly where they get the number is what makes it that way, but to me it is. I feel the same about their activity points.

While I am doing this, I am still following on MFP and it is interesting to see the way my daily point allowance and my daily caloric intake mesh or, in some cases, do not mesh. There are times when I am well below what I should be eating on one and I am on target with the other, or over on one and under on the other. Sometimes, they match up. I think some of this is due to the WW policy of fruits and veggies having a zero point value whereas MFP still counts them as an amount (of calories). There is even mention of that on the WW site, where it has tips and hints if you are stalling or gaining – to look at how much fruit and veggies you are eating, since they still have calories.

As of right now, I have been doing the WW thing for three and a half weeks and, at meeting on Wednesday, I will have been doing it for a month. While I would love to say I am well on my way to skinny jeans, this has been a learning curve for me. I lost the first week and then regained the second and third weeks. Disappointing, yes, but since someone other than me is weighing me in, I feel a little more accountability and more of a need to look at what I am doing. Turns out, I am usually good on the weekdays, with my packed lunch and planned meals, but it falls apart on the weekends and, sometimes, on the weekdays if I am too hungry on my drive home. If I am hungry on my way home, I am more inclined to give in and order delivery when I walk in the door. And the weekends? I am super good at not moving around a ton and eating and/or drinking everything my heart desires. I usually track most of this, although not all… I also don’t track the random nibbles here and there as I prep my lunch for work or as I am cooking dinner. All of this combines to a not so accurate count… this week I have been better about it, so I am hoping that this week will reflect that.

I am also hoping that the increase in accountability due to someone else weighing me in (and asking if I need strategies and help…) and the inclusion of my coworkers, that I will be able to work this. Only time will tell.

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